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Apparently some people really are this stupid

“WHAT. We lied?” “… Alls we do is lie.” So ran an exchange of texts between colleagues at the building materials company Kingspan , after it began marketing one of its insulation products, Kooltherm K15, as having a “Class 0” rating, taken at the time to be suitable for use in high-rise blocks. K15 was used on Grenfell Tower. The sordid story of how that came to be was revealed at the inquiry into the Grenfell fire.

What so amused Kingspan employees was their ability to market K15 as Class 0 without testing the material as a whole; the company simply tested the foil facer. “You could staple a foil facer to dynamite and put it on a building of above 18 metres and call it Class 0?” Richard Millett QC rhetorically asked Adrian Pargeter, a Kingspan director. Which is not that far from what actually happened.

Too little attention is being paid to the Grenfell inquiry. What is being brutally exposed is the inhumanity of companies trying to scam the system, irrespective of consequences for people’s lives, and of regulations as fit for purpose as the Grenfell cladding itself.

The bureaucracy provided some regulations that attempted, in detail, to tell people what they could, and could not, do. These regulations turned out to be not very good.

Imagine now a much more general system of regulation. Thou shall not make products which kill the customers. A very general rule, open ended, there’s no sign off on it from some bloke one can pour beer into. True, there’s also no series of comfy indoor jobs for people to tick boxes. But, you know. It could well be an effective manner of regulation.

So, we have that first form of regulation. Something goes wrong. This is thus the fault of the regulated, not the regulators?

18 thoughts on “Apparently some people really are this stupid”

  1. The Offences against the person Act of 1861 makes it an offence to cause reckless transmission of a communicable disease.
    So none of the life-style regulations this year were ever needed to be made law. Eng&W could have just prosecuted anyone passing it on if they acted recklessly.

  2. The entire Grenfell story is a list of socialist/communalist failings to which The Grauniad’s response is “blame the eeevil Tories”. The tenant-controlled organisation that refused to listen to lower-class tenants of the tower block, the illegal sub-lets in the tower-block that allowed overcrowding, the “Green” requirement to insulate buildings instead of wearing warm clothes, the bureaucracy instead of commonsense involved in deciding what to do and how to do it – allocating a certain amount before finding out how much it cost and then cutting corners to square the circle, the petty corruption of petty officials …
    Your suggestion of “Thou shalt not make products that kill customers” was actually part of English Law when I was young – what happened to it?

  3. It’s probably an EU regulation too so a compromise of a bickering committee. Any idea of what the regulation is, would be interesting to look up the test method?

  4. Thou shall not make products which kill the customers.

    Congratulations. You’ve just killed the tobacco industry. And given the prodnoses attitudes, alcohol as well.

    How about.
    Thou shalt create products that work as advertised, without excessive, unnecessary risk.

  5. Thou shall not make products which kill the customers.

    That’s armaments out of the window and motor manufacturing too.

  6. Where has this culture come from of thinking we live in a tropical country and expecting to be able to sit around the house in t-shirt and pants? It’s 19C in my living room, and my natural reaction is to wear a jumper and long trousers.

  7. How about ‘You are liable for any damage your product or service does, apart from any risks communicated to the customer before a sale’?

  8. @Dongguan John: been addressed here:

    Comes down to: Could be if you dig deep enough, since it doesn’t specifically address the use of cladding incorporating a flammable component and a chimney effect..
    Said cladding being known at the time to be extremely unsafe, and use of already banned in places. This should have been a hint..

    That stuff being used in that block has a long streak of culprits and/or incompetents along the decision chain.

  9. The article is about building codes. In Babylonia, 1772BC, Hammurabi created the world’s first building code:

    229 – If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

    230 – If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.

    231 – If it kills a slave of the owner, then he shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.

    232 – If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.

    233 – If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.

  10. Babylonia, 1772BC

    This sounds like Capt Kirk in the USS Enterprise in the Library with the Lead Pipe going in reverse thrust at wharp factor 5 and phasers set to “stun”.

    Tell me I’m wrong.

  11. I suspect the name “Kingspan” suggests that a company run by whites is in the frame. If a company run by someone’s Uncle Omar had been given the job I further suspect the name might well not have become public–not via any “official” route anyway.

  12. People make rules.
    People follow the rules.
    The end result isn’t what the rule makers wanted
    Is that because our rule makers make stupid rules?
    They never just put what they want but gold plate it and all those words make it weaker plus no plod knows all the laws in place. They may know a few that they find favourites for persecuting the public but beyond that they are as ignorant as us. So how are we expected to know everything that our useless lawmakers come up with?

    When I take over the universe I’ll get rid of most of the existing laws and starting with the 10 commandments, making a few mods and adding in a couple we will make it understandable.

    One of my hobbies it to follow the rules but ridicule them to make a point.

    Whenever any new rules come out I love reading them and finding loopholes. Helps I was a contracts manager many moons ago and some really good legal minds advised me on wording and phrasing. Ergo new hobby.

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